I identify as a diehard Netflix fan. Trust me, I can binge on Netflix all day and I still won’t feel tired. Recently, I was watching the series called Daredevil. It is a story of a lawyer who is visually disabled. He serves as a masked vigilante at night and fights against those whom the law has let get away. In a recent episode, this masked man beat up police officers who were not dutiful to their job. They soon learned their lesson after being rebuked by Daredevil. This scene really resonated with me.
The next day, while watching television, I stopped at a music channel playing the song ‘Blue Eyes’ by Honey Singh. Part of the lyrics comprised: “Meri aankhon mein dekha kar jab mein baat karta hun, Main woh londa nahi jo tere saath padhta hun, White ghini laya hun tujhe pick kar lun.” (look into my eyes when I do the talking, I am not that guy who sits with you in the classroom. I have a white Lamborghini, I will pick you up). It was not the first time I was listening to that particular song, but only that day did I realize that I never paid any heed to the lyrics in the past.
That very day, I came across the news: ‘Hospital employee and four others rape teenager in ICU’. All of a sudden, the pervasiveness of rape culture hit me. With that, the idea of Daredevil and what he represented made more and more sense. I started looking into pop culture, especially Bollywood. The more I researched, I came close to finding a highly unpleasant answer.
She falls for him because he showed ‘mercy’ by not raping her. *Slow clap*
Through the years, the quality of cinema had largely dropped. We can see how the movies nowadays are made – in which the film industry has indulged in and marketed rape culture. They are selling sexual harassment in the name of romance. Do they never recognize this or they do, but don’t want to accept it? A great number of people watch movies which impart terribly problematic messages. Let us go through some examples:
In the era when the movie Deewar released – this generation of cinema is well known for using actresses only for romantic scenes. If not this, then to objectify them. So there is a song in this movie with lyrics that go along the lines of: “Socha hai yeh ke tumhe rasta bhulaye, Sooni jagah pe kahin chhede daraaye.” (Was thinking that we’ll make you forget the way, and then harass you when you find yourself in an isolated corner). Is this how we should appear intelligent to the girl and win her heart? The pity is that the audience was not that mature enough at that time to differentiate between entertainment and shameless misogyny.
Aamir Khan starrer movie Dil is no less. The movie has a song which says, “Aaj na chodunga tujhe dum dama dum dum” (I refuse to leave you alone today). There is a scene in this movie where the male protagonist (Aamir again) is threatening the woman with rape. Later, she falls for him because he showed ‘mercy’ by not raping her. *Slow clap*
The most loved song ‘Blue Eyes’ of the famous rapper Honey Singh blew everyone’s mind when it hit the market. I have already talked about it so let’s take a look on another one of his songs:
Pajama loose loose
Butter chicken and some booze
Kudiyon ka laga hai buffet
Chaahe jo kar lo choose
(Pyjama is so loose
Here is a group of girls
Come and choose yours)
This teaches boys that if you have money and good looks, you can choose any girl from where ever you want and she will not resist. What even?
Bollywood sells sexual harassment in the name of romance.
Where these lyrics are concerned – “I am a hunter, she wants to see my gun, When I pull it out boy, the woman starts to run” – What is this supposed to mean? This is absurd and distasteful. Of course, the list of offensive Bollywood songs is endless. In all the songs, one thing is common – objectification of women. That’s it.
It doesn’t matter who the director, actor or writer is, Bollywood still encourages such material in the guise of ‘drama’ and objectifies the woman. Even what is peddled as humour in cinema is problematic. Changing speech words from ‘chamatkar’ to ‘balatkar’ (3 Idiots) or Salman Khan making statements like “I felt like a raped woman while shooting” are not funny at all. How many times will the industry prove to us that the heroine only serves to provides entertainment to the hero and he can inappropriately touch her (Judwaa and Judwaa 2) and kiss her without consent and still manage to win her heart in the end by this crude display of manhood?
All I can see is that Bollywood movies are selling the idea that women are meant for providing pleasure to men, and nothing more. Making a ‘Munni Badnam’ or a ‘Sheila ki Jawani’ will only give you a massive audience and zero credibility. The directors, actors and all of them need to wake up and check the objectification of women that is put on display, just to pull in crowds. Please also start thinking about what the next generation will learn by watching such movies.